An updated framework to strengthen the use of the Welsh language in health and social care has today (Tuesday 22 March) been launched by Minister for Health and Social Services Mark Drakeford.
At its heart is the idea that being able to use your own language must be a core component of care – not an optional extra.
All organisations responsible for providing health and social care services in Wales will be expected to mainstream Welsh language services as an integral part of service planning and delivery.
The original strategic framework More than just words… sought to strengthen Welsh language services in health, social services and social care. This led to a number of initiatives to ensure Welsh-speakers received services in their first language in any care setting.
The updated plan builds on the original framework and reflects changes in legislation, including the introduction of the new Welsh Language Standards.
The expectation that NHS and social care staff will offer Welsh language services to patients rather than expect them to have to ask – the Active Offer – remains central to the follow-on framework.
More than just words… has achieved the following:
  • A better awareness and understanding of the importance of providing health and care services in Welsh;
  • The development of a number of initiatives which have shown it is possible to ensure Welsh-speakers can receive health and social services in their first language by making the best use of existing resources;
  • Planning for bilingual provision of services is under way.
The refreshed strategy will:
  • Build on the Active Offer principle – providing a service in Welsh without someone having to ask for it;
  • Make the best use of the NHS and social care workforce’s existing Welsh language skills and invest in the bilingual workforce of the future;
  • Ensure that leadership is demonstrated across every level of each organisation to establish a supportive culture which ensures services are accessible to Welsh-speakers.
Minister for Health and Social Services, Mark Drakeford, said:
More than just words… helped ensure Welsh-speakers receive services in their first language by making the best use of the existing skills and resources across our NHS and social services.
“The focus of this follow-on framework is to provide care which meets the needs of the individual, not just procedures. We have also taken the opportunity to ensure that the framework reflects changes in the legislative landscape since the publication of the original strategy.
“Implementing this refreshed charter will provide a good foundation for organisations to provide services in compliance with the new Welsh Language Standards.”
Gareth Davies, Welsh Language Officer at Cwm Taf University Health Board said: “It was a great pleasure to welcome the Minister for Health and Social Services, Professor Mark Drakeford, and Mr Andrew Goodall. Director for Health and Social Services and Chief Executive of NHS Wales and a large number of people from all around Wales to Ysbyty Cwm Cynon, today, for the launch of the updated framework ‘Mwy na geiriau’.
“The implementation of the follow-on strategy with its continued emphasis on the Active Offer and its focus on patients receiving Welsh language services without them having to ask for them will aid patients, particularly those for whom it is a need rather than a choice.
“We are pleased with the good practice highlighted within Cwm Taf over the last three years of the strategy which has been a boost for staff and a reward for their efforts. Staff can build upon the work already undertaken and we look forward to developing future initiatives.”